Another excruciatingly long summer is over. Actual hockey games are on the horizon. Because this is the 265th most widely read hockey blog on the internets, MYFO felt a deep obligation to our dozens of readers to prepare this series of previews telling you about every single team in the NHL. By “prepare” we mean, we found other people to write many of them for us. We were looking for people who (unlike us) might have an actual clue about these teams, but were also eager/willing enough to work for free. Within those constraints, we think we did an admirable job.
Today, with your preview of the Colorado Avalanche, the Talented Mr. Jibblescribbits, a/k/a Deadspin commenter HockeyMountain.
When asked to write the Avs season preview for MYFO, I knew I’d have to live up to some high comedic standards. So I decided to honor a great comedian, Andy Kaufman, by publishing the 5th chapter of The Great Gatsby verbatim:
When I came home to West Egg that night I was afraid for a moment that my house was on fire. Two o’clock and the whole corner of the peninsula was blazing with light, which fell unreal on the shrubbery and made thin elongating glints upon the roadside wires. Turning a corner, I saw that it was Gatsby’s house, lit from tower to cellar…
Riveting, to be sure. Unlike Andy Kaufman, I don’t have the discipline, or the desire, to stick with the joke. I do recommend The Great Gatsby, however, as it is a fine piece of American literature. You can find it at your local library.
I do, however, have the desire and discipline to write the official MYFO Colorado Avalanche 2008-2009 season preview – which I’m 170 words into and haven’t actually started yet. Strap in – I don’t get any more concise.
Within the Division
When the NHL decided to put the Avs in the Northwest Division they apparently thought that since Colorado is a Mile High, and therefore up, that Denver was indeed “North”, showing all the geography skills that gave us Ms. Teen South Carolina. Despite not actually being in the great NW, Colorado has owned the division, winning five of the nine division titles, and finishing second three out of the other four. Even when they don’t win it, like last season, they go out diminish the actual division winner’s accomplishment by knocking them out of the playoffs. (That’ll make the banner raising ceremony in the XCel Energy Center awkward). Maybe that’s the reason there’s plenty of “Minnesota NW Division Champion T-shirts” still available.
The lesson: The Avs are always a threat to win the NW, and if they don’t they will certainly be looking to avenge themselves.
While the off-season focus was (correctly) on Sakic’s possible retirement, the key to the offseason next season is going to be 23 year old center Paul Stastny, affectionately known as “Son of Stastny” to the die-hards. Injuries derailed his sophomore campaign a little, but he was still a better than a point-per-game player last season. The season before, he trailed only Evgeni Malkin in rookie points (and only by 6). (Seen below in his audition for The Biggest Loser, or something)
The Avs are solid if not spectacular over their top 2 lines, and have a solid checking line, but their third line is hodgepodge at best. Likely 3rd line wings Darcy Tucker and David Jones will team with Tyler Arnason to form the most awkward threesome since the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker were all caught in the tub together. Jones is a hungry youngster not afraid to hit hard, Tucker is an old ass, and Arnason always looks like someone asked Nicholas Cage to solve Schrödinger’s equation.
The Avs defense is so loaded that Toronto paid $3.2M per season for the Defenseman that would, at best, be the Avs’ 6th defenseman this season. Some people will argue that Vancouver’s is better, some Minnesota’s, but don’t be fooled, the Avs have the best 1-6 defense in the division. Adam Foote, despite his age, is still a top-notch shutdown defender. JM-Liles is a quality puck-moving defender, who has adequately filled Alex Tanguay’s role as the “Av most married women would cheat on their husbands with” category. Hopefully the Avs have figured out how to encase Jordan Leopold in carbonite in between games, minimizing the chance of injury. He’d probably get hibernation sickness anyways. Scott Hannan, Brett Clark, Ruslan Salei, all round-out the defense. Daniel Tjarnqvist and youngster Kyle Cumisky also will have a role with the team this season.
Everyone in hockey seems to believe that this is the Avs biggest weakness and that Peter Budaj is the second coming of David Aebischer. Frankly I’m tired fo defending Budaj, mainly because his stats are solid, and he’s done a great job whenever given the Avs #1 job. He was unable to hold down the top spot only because he slept with Quennevilles wife*. Whatever. Peter Budaj is the most likable playter in hockey due to his mask alone, which features both Ned Flanders and the main character from Assassin’s Creed.
Jose Theodore repays the Avs for resurrecting his career by bolting for Washington over a relatively small amount of money. Never trust a French-Canadian with a Spanish name. The Avs brought in former Calder Trophy winner, Andrew Raycroft, to back up Buds, and also get a head start on the island of misfit Maple Leafs with Darcy Tucker.
The Granato hiring was one which surprised and angered many followers of the Avs community. I took the hiring with all the class and grace of a seasoned hockey blogger. Despite my initial negative reaction, nothing could be worse than another season of Coach Quenneville at the helm. Most outside observers don’t realize that Q was the mastermind behind such questionable moves as:
- Opening a goalie controversy 4 games into the season, despite Budajs strong play
- Benching Woitek Wolski, but leaving in Tyler Arnason when he sucks ass
- Going through more line combinations in a season than Theo Fleury
- Playing Wyatt Smith at all last season.
Even if Granato’s not a tactical genius, he can at least throw his best players on the ice without fucking it up…something Q had trouble with.
The Avs have a secret weapon this season, and that’s to try and annoy the opponent into submission. You’d think this would be a tough task with Joe Sakic at the helm and the likable Peter Budaj in net, but the Avs have managed to bring in some annoyances. Darcy Tucker, why is one of the most hated men in hockey joins Ian Laperriere, Cody McLeod and Cody McCormick as agitators on the Avs’ lineup. But the Avs weren’t satisfied with that, and decided to bring in a super-villain to add to the annoyingness. That villain is none other than Goldmember from the third Austin Powers movie. Think I’m kidding; nope he’s on the left below.
Another thing about Ledin is that he was on a team where he was nicknamed one of the Bash Brothers. No word on if that’s Fulton Reed on the right.
Holy Crap, that’s a lot of shirtless guys (you’re welcome, ladies…) on one preview…So here’s a picture of a Colorado Avalanche Puck Bunny via Jerseys and Hockey Love: